English only to be enforced next year
Mar. 10, 2003 12:00 AM
TUCSON - Three years after Arizona voters endorsed teaching students in English, state schools Superintendent Tom Horne is trying to better enforce the English-only mandate known as Proposition 203.
Starting next year, students learning English cannot take any subjects in their native language unless they are determined to be an "English speaker."
That's tougher than today's standard. To currently enroll in bilingual education classes, students are required only to earn the status of "limited" English proficiency.
Horne thinks the best way to learn English is to be immersed in it.
"I feel the Latino kids are being sacrificed," Horne said. "If they're not yet fluent in English, they listen to the Spanish and they're not learning English fast enough."
Teachers in English immersion classrooms must teach academics in English only, using Spanish just to give basic directions. Bilingual teachers are allowed to teach in Spanish, although much of the instruction is in English as students learn both languages.
Under the more strict, new rules, about 10 percent of the 5,826 Tucson Unified School District students allowed to attend bilingual classes this year would be ineligible next year.